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What are the average salaries for some top government jobs?

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Top government jobs offer highly competitive salaries with the top 25 paying more than $50,000 on average each, and the top job of Astronomer paying an average of $116,072 in 2015. This does not include government jobs that require an election or that go through a congressional approval process.

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Several other of the top jobs pay over $100,000 yearly. These include attorney at $114,240, financial manager at $101,022 and general engineer at $100,051. A few other higher-paying jobs include economist at $94,098, chaplin at $76,511 and air traffic controller at $72,049.

The listed salaries are all base rates for the particular job. Those actually hired under contract earn more than the base, with the exact amount of additional earnings dependant on locality. Government pay also comes with regular pay raises dependent on promotional steps achieved under each pay grade. Pay grades begin at GS level 1 and rise to GS level 15. The highest government pay grade in 2015, for example, increases over $30,000 between step 1 and step 10.

The locality pay rate added to the base pay is determined by a person's location in 33 locality areas. The highest rate is 35.15 percent for the San Jose area, while the lowest rate is 14.16 percent for any part of the United States not contained in the established locality areas.

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